Daily texting nearly twice as popular as voice calls among teens

The Pew Internet and American Life Project has released its latest report, titled “Teens, Smartphones & Texting,” and the report said the trend among younger people continues: more texting, less talking.

It’s a trend that’s been reflected for some time, and not just for teens either. A 2010 Nielsen mobile use report showed that voice usage had dropped across all age groups, except those above 55. Meanwhile, all age groups, even those over 55, had seen an increase in texting.

None of the data is really surprising, or perhaps it IS surprising because the number isn’t higher. Three-quarters of teenagers text. Pew said that the “volume of texting among teens has risen from 50 texts a day in 2009 to 60 texts for the median (not average) teen text user” in 2011. The report examined the changes in teens’ communication behaviors over the last five years, focusing on mobile devices.

Pew said that older teenage girls are still the most likely to force their parents into unlimited texting plans, as they “remain the most enthusiastic texters, with a median of 100 texts a day in 2011, compared with 50 for boys the same age.”

While 63 percent of teens say they exchange text messages every day, only 39 percent exchange mobile phone voice calls daily. Other statistics:

  • 35 percent socialize face-to-face outside of school
  • 29 percent use social networks to communicate daily
  • 22 percent chat (instant message) daily
  • 19 percent speak on landlines daily
  • 6 percent email daily

Just as with Americans overall, a growing number of youth are adopting smartphones. 31 percent of those ages 14 to 17, and 23 percent of those ages 12 to 17, Pew said. Even the youngest teenagers, those aged 12 and 13, have smartphones (8 percent).

Also as with Americans overall, location-based services remain little used. Only 6 percent of teenagers aged 12 to 17 use location-based services on their cellphones to share their location, Pew said.

The survey was conducted by telephone in English and Spanish by Princeton Data Source, LLC from April 19 to July 14, 2011. 799 teens and their were parents were surveyed, with Statistical results weighted to correct “known demographic discrepancies.” The margin of sampling error for the complete set of weighted data is plus or minus 4.8 percentage points.

In addition, there were seven focus groups conducted with teens between the ages of 12 and 19 in the greater Washington, D.C. metro area in January and February 2011. 57 teens participated in the focus groups, with each group averaging from 8 to 14 people.

About The Author